Interview With Ankit Nayal
Describe your product or service:
“An app that uses a Tinder-like swiping algorithm, but instead of matching people with people, we match couples with experiences.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“We want to make it easier to be in a relationship, rather than make it easier to be out of a relationship (as the current dating apps do, where another relationship is just a swipe away).”
How are you funded? I.e. type of funding, number of funding rounds, total funding amount.
“Angel, one round, €30,000.”
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them!
“Four people. It is a family.”
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“I lived in five different countries, ranging from the far east, in China, to the far west, in the US. While living in these countries, I noticed that there were plenty of apps to help me find a partner, but nothing substantial to help me improve my relationship. Very few apps existed that added value once the relationship actually began.
Noticing this gap, in 2021, I began conceptualizing an app that would be central to easing all ‘experience decisions’ in a relationship — movies, recipes, games, restaurants, bars, events, vacations, etc., and so began the work on ‘Sparks - The Relationships App.’”
How did you come up with your startup's name? Did you have other names you considered?
“Imagine a couple cuddling around a bonfire with sparks flying into the blue starlight night sky. We want to keep the spark alive in relationships.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“I have always been an entrepreneur. Earlier, I helped build the most technologically-advanced gyms in China.”
What was the biggest obstacle you encountered while launching your company? How did you overcome it?
“Tech! If I could go back right now, I would be a coder!”
Feeling inspired? Learn how to launch your company with our guide on how to start a startup.
What's your primary marketing strategy?
“We have been using organic content so far but will switch to using paid ads in the future along with partnering with relationship influencers and coaches.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“Beg. Request. Plead. Jk, I got them through my MBA network.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“DAU, MAU, churn rate!”
What's your favorite startup book and podcast?
“I really like the ‘Acquired’ podcast. One of my favorite books, even though not startup related, is ‘The Daily Stoic.’ Helped me a lot with life.”
Is there a tool, app, or resource that you swear by to help run your startup?
“Asana. Google Workplace. My watch to keep track of events.”
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“Every day you learn something new. And if you are not learning every day, then you will fail.”
How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?
“Gym. Working out. That gives me peace.
But also to be honest, there is not much balance as a founder if you want to build something that matters. I know it is against the whole conviction nowadays of balancing, but it is true.”
When did you know it was time to quit your day job to focus on your startup?
“I never started one!”
What was your first job and what did it teach you?
“I worked with my parents for years as an ‘entrepreneur-in-learning.’ They taught me most of the things I know about being a good human.”
More on Sparks
Ankit Nayal, founder of app startup Sparks, shared valuable insights during our interview that will inspire and motivate aspiring entrepreneurs.